Reality-Tunnel: How Beliefs And Expectations Create What You Experience In Life

Sunday, 8 December 2013

First, check out this picture closely. What do you see?delphine-delfine-delfin-liebespaar-messag-d-amour-des-dauphins-dolphin-lovers.jpg

Scroll down to find out what else you should have been able to discover…

Tunnel tube ('ve seen a naked couple, haven't you? Research points out that little children can't detect the lovers, because there is no corresponding memory in their brains. What the children actually do see are nine dolphins!

Children simply don't have the corresponding internal image of lovers. Adults, of course could also see the dolphins, but most of us see the lovers. (This by the way shows quite dramatically what our real preferences are…) Anyway, think about the far-reaching implications of this fascinating test:

You can see only what your reality-tunnel allows you to see!

What is a reality tunnel?
Your reality-tunnel is being constructed during the course of your life by your experiences, thoughts and belief-systems. Your thoughts and belief-systems are basically based on language. (Try to think without using internal language!) Thinking and all your belief-systems are hence built upon language:

"The real secret of magic is that the world is made of words, and that if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish."


(Terence Mc Kenna – Reality is made of language)

Timothy Leary coined the term reality tunnel and it was then popularised by Robert Anton Wilson. It refers to the concept that with a subconscious set of filters formed from their beliefs and experiences, everyone interprets this same world differently, hence "Truth is in the eye of the beholder".

Electronic signature ( tunnels can also be compared to various virtual reality cyberspace worlds.
For example the virtual cyberworld Second Life parallels one reality tunnel, the 3D-Chat worlds of Activeworlds parallel other reality tunnels. These virtual worlds are also "made of words" – they come into existence through programming code.

Of course, there are also other kind of languages, for example visual (psychedelic) color language.

And Indian sage Nisargadatta Maharaj in the middle of the last century even warned of using words carelessly:

"Be careful. The moment you start talking you create a verbal universe, a universe of words, ideas, concepts and abstractions, interwoven and inter-dependent, most wonderfully generating, supporting and explaining each other and yet all without essence or substance, mere creations of the mind.
Words create words, reality is silent."


(Nisargadatta Maharaj)

Is there objective truth?
This is not necessarily meant to imply that there is no objective truth; just that our access to it is mediated through our senses, experience, conditioning, old beliefs, and other non-objective factors. One could say that the objective truth 'out there' is constantly being filtered through our tunnel realities.
Non-duality guru Siddharameshwar Maharaj in the last century put it in no uncertain terms:

"As is your concept, so will you see."


(Sri Siddharameshwar Maharaj)

Hence: Each and every reality tunnel is subjectively true, or more precisely: Each reality tunnel appears to be totally true for their particular creator.

'Fence Into Infinity' by @ ultrafeel.tvSimilarities to the 'confirmation bias'.
A parallel can be seen in the psychological concept of confirmation bias – our tendency to notice and assign significance to observations that confirm our beliefs, while filtering out or rationalizing away observations that do not fit with our prior beliefs and expectations.

This helps to explain why reality tunnels are usually transparent to their inhabitants. While it seems most people take their beliefs to correspond to the 'one true objective reality'.

Robert Anton Wilson of course emphasized that each person's reality tunnel is their own artistic creation, whether they realize it or not.

"I have not experienced any organized belief system that is not disempowering in some way. The problem is that they all have a fixed perspective. If you look at reality from any single perspective, you are only perceiving the projection of reality onto your belief system, not reality itself."


(Steve Pavlina)

Personal reality tunnel and group tunnel realities.
There are personal reality tunnels: The individual world each person occupies is said to be their reality tunnel. But there are also tunnel realities that can apply to groups of people united by beliefs: We can speak of the fundamentalist christian reality tunnel, the scientific materialist reality tunnel, or the libertarian reality tunnel.

"Once the fiction of one 'reality' dies as a concept, and the operational fact of 'realities' (plural) becomes generally recognized, we might all discover that human beings can actually live together without constantly making war over who has the 'real reality'.

You create one reality-tunnel at a time out of a phalanx of possible reality-tunnels. You can learn to change your reality-tunnel. You can experience many reality-tunnels."


(Robert Anton Wilson in 'Cosmic Trigger; Volume 2')

Reality tunnels can be limiting.
Of course, our reality tunnels can often be bounding, and prevent us from realising our full potential. In fact, by their very nature they are always limiting. Schopenhauer, who used the term "field of vision", stated it this way:

"Every man takes the limits of his field of vision for the limits of the world."


(Arthur Schopenhauer)

And Heidegger:

"Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man."


(Martin Heidegger)

To break out of these limitations, we have to remove the limiting patterns posed by language.

Tunnel into light (c) http://dedroidify.comBreak down old reality tunnels.
Through various techniques one can break down old reality tunnels and impose new reality tunnels by removing old filters and replacing them with new ones, new perspectives on reality – at will.

This is achieved through various processes of deprogramming, using techniques such as:

– Forcibly acting out other reality runnels by applying Courage. (It needs courage to break out of your reality tunnel, because within your old one you feel at least safe.)

– Controlled use of hallucinogenic medicines: Chakra-opening or psychedelics combined with bio-feedback and mind machines.

– Meditation: There are various kinds of meditation, most don't really 'work'. Study Osho's ideas on meditation, and ponder why meditation might actually not be necessary at all…

Thus one's reality tunnel can be widened to take full advantage of human potential and experience reality on more positive levels. Robert Anton Wilson's 'Prometheus Rising' is (among other subjects) a guidebook to the exploration of various reality tunnels.

"…In fact, all evolution, all growth, is a process of learning to see things from an expanding and increasing number of perspectives, instead of the one you're currently immersed in."


(Bill Harris)

So, what kind of reality do we decide to create today…?

(c)reated by @ ; Reality tunnel pic:

28 thoughts on “Reality-Tunnel: How Beliefs And Expectations Create What You Experience In Life

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  4. My 8 year old saw the lovers. Should I be worried?

    I think these “filters” are similar to the concept of “schemas”. There is actually something called “schema therapy” that can break the confirmation bias feedback loop and allow the person to remove the limitations of a particular schema and become open to new ways of interpreting the world.

    I’m starting to think that when a troubled person has a psychotic episode and then emerges with a new perspective on life, that is a spontaneous process of massive schema remodeling – a sudden breaking free from a “reality tunnel” that was not working out for the person. There’s chaos for a while until new schemas form to limit perception into manageable amounts, so you can again sip from the fire hose of the sensorium instead of drowning in it.

    I think somehow, psychadelic drugs tap into this same schema-obliterating neurochemistry that may orchestrate spontaneous psychosis.

  5. You may be interested in visiting our website at to learn about our educational and transformation model (Architectural Redirection) for thinking outside the box/tunnel, so to speak. We have clearly laid out the structure of the mind (Architecture) and show how one can transition (Redirect) through the various compartments of their mind to get beyond the beliefs/interpretations that keep one imprisoned by their thoughts. Robert

  6. I would never have seen the dolphins had they not been mentioned. As soon as they were mentioned, I went back to the picture to look for just one as once one had been recognised, the rest would follow. . . . . and they did! There is an important lesson to take away here.

  7. Aargh, I just saw the dolphins – it’s odd that I find it harder to see this interpretation than in other similar images I’ve come across… Even though I now know where the dolphins are, the lovers image completely dominates my perception – I really have to concentrate to see the dolphins…..

  8. i thought my reality tunnels were more flexible than most, but I can’t see any dolphins no matter how long I look at the image! I can vaguely make out a seal whose mouth is near the woman’s right hand, but no dolphins anywhere. Pictures like this I’ve seen in the past I’ve seen both interpretations almost immediately. Guess I must have a far greater need to see lovers than dolphins!

  9. Hello Anthony,
    Yes, there is too much emphasis on the ‘objective’ side of existence.
    However I don’t agree with your term “subjective consciousness”.
    Consciousness can never be subjective (or objective for that matter). Consciousness IS – and within it, subjective and objective concepts arise.
    Thanks for your comment!

  10. I do agree that there is something to the idea of a ‘reality tunnel.’ Despite the achievements and contributions of science to society, a world view emphasizing objectivity is unhealthy. Interestingly, advancements in more abstruse fields of scientific study (such as quantum physics) intricately link the observer to the experience. New strides in science are beginning to reemphasize subjective consciousness over clockwork mechanics.

  11. Hello David,
    Indeed there is also a teapot… so you must have a pretty creative reality tunnel that can see a teapot (which basically nobody has seen so far), but you don’t see the dolphins… 😉

  12. Reality is an opinion by the majority validating at that paricular moment, though it is ever changing. The progress in science from one, two, three, four and fifth dimension, quantum, M – theory, string theory etc. are the result of human quest for excellence. It is human whose conscious awareness makes him bring about the change.

  13. Georgette,

    yep, if you see the buddha, it might very well be just a creation of your own reality tunnel. Kill him immediately to find out – if he ‘survives’, it is the real one…!

    Pura Vida to you and Shone!

  14. I love this Fox! Shone first mentioned the quote, “see the buddha, kill the buddha”, and would not tell me what it meant, he said it was such precious lesson, that he would not take the discovery away from me! When I finally learned the meaning, I felt so free, so wonderful, and so in love with life and more people than I ever thought possible!! Great post!!!

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